" ITREALMS: April 2010

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Banjo v. Omo-Ettu: Battle for ATCON leadership gears up

WITH less than 48 hours to the election of the new National Executive Council (NEC) of the Association of Telecommunications Companies of Nigeria (ATCON), the heat has narrowed down to some specifics on who are the contending forces to battle each other in order to emerge in the new leadership of the association.

ATCON is a professional, non-profit umbrella organisation of all telecommunication companies in Nigeria, which was inaugurated on December 10, 1993, as a national trade organisation, with its membership drawn from Nigerian and multi-national companies which provide telecommunications and information technology products and services in the country.

ITRealms Online gathered that there are about nine contenders in various positions including the National President where Messrs Titi Omo-Ettu and Bayo Banjo would be locking horns come Friday, April 30 this year at the Golden Gate venue of the Annual General Meeting (AGM) cum general election.

Also, Olusola Teniola of Kinten Telecom has declared interest on the first vice national president position, Adewale Jones of Ashfield & Bowman Attorney, David Roberts of Cebit Park Ltd is reportedly eyeing the post of the National Secretary, Intercellular representative at ATCON, Ms Maureen Egbuna seems to be a lone ranger for the National Publicity Secretary, while Tony Nwosu has expressed interest in going for the Co-coordinator, Auxiliary Service Providers, even as Mac Danielles Ighedosa of Diyeem Global Concept, Enhanced Services and Akinlabi Akinbo from AAA Infotek are expected to muscle up for Coordinator, Consulting Group.

Normally, the key battle is between those hussling for the national president seat, that is, Messrs Titi Omo-Ettu and Bayo Banjo. Uniquely, both are known advocates as far as this industry and ATCON issues are concerned.

For most industry watchers, both contenders are going to exhibit keen contest given their backgrounds before now.

For Bayo Banjo, who has been the first vice president under the incumbent NEC led by Dr. Emmanuel Ekuwem of Teledom Group International, he has been an outspoken person ever before and has served well in his current capacity in the last four years, which is cumulatively the two- year term of Dr. Ekuwem and could be said to have grown through the ranks for his turn and represented Ekuwem and ATCON very well in the last few years of active participation in the NEC.

Though Banjo on one hand is known overtly for his style of elucidating controversies anytime, anyday in the bid to air his mind without any encumbrance, he is the founder of Disc Communications Limited (DisCom), a leading telecommunications company that is in forefront of revolutionizing the industry in Nigeria with several years of experience.

DisCom under his leadership, has proved to be seen as delivering quality telecom services via land lines, optimizing the advantage of the larger bandwidth that cable has over wireless counterpart in addition to encouraging optimization of Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) technology.

Equally, Mr. Banjo is not contesting with unknown figure in the industry in the person of Mr. Titi Omo-Ettu, a consultant telecommunications engineer who is the Managing Partner, Telecom Answers Associates (TAA) and founder The Executive Cyberschuul and was actually the chairman, electoral committee that brought in the Ekuwem-Banjo ticket four years ago and has served in various committees under the current dispensation in ATCON.

Currently, Omo-Ettu who is also referred to industry-wise as ‘IT Parable’ is the National Vice president, Council for the Regulation of Engineering in Nigeria (COREN), since last year.

Omo-Ettu has over three decades of active participation in the Nigerian telecommunications development having retired from the services of Nigerian Telecommunications Plc (NITEL) in 1991 and presently consulting and training younger engineers with focus on developmental processes.

He has consulted for the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) since its inception in 1993 to date, serving in the areas of industry studies and research, universal service plans and internet applications just as he extends similar services to the private sector clients.

His Lagos-based Cyberschuul specialises on telecommunications training, whereas he is a fellow of several professional entities including the Nigeria Society of Engineers (NSE), Telecom Executive Management Institute, Canada; memberships of Association of Consulting Engineers, Nigeria; and Nigerian Institute of Management (NIM) among others.

His expertise also extends to telecommunications switching; digital technology; tele-traffic engineering; network planning and management; network economics; managing people & resources; marketing strategy and management; virtual private networks; e-learning management platforms; Voice over IP (VoIP).

As the time draw nearer, the ATCON annual general meeting cum election, may this year be very intense and as such goes a long way in dividing the membership of ATCON along thin margins like was witnessed four years ago when Ekuwem and chairman, Linkserve Group, Chief Chima Onyekwere sweated it out with a margin of a single vote to emerge.

Confirming the readiness of ATCON for the election, Executive Secretary, Mr. Ajibola Olude, said that they are looking forward to welcoming both old and new members at the AGM.

He explained that the chairman of the electoral committee would be appointed on that day, maintaining that ATCON strongly believes that for Nigerian telecommunications market to remain vibrant and relevant, the association should keep on advocating for some fundamentals like good quality service and zero tolerance on multiple taxation to name a few.

Hence, the election of the national executive council has become imperative to underscore ATCON’s needs for credible, pro-active, intelligent and good resource managers to steer its leadership in the next two years to the next level.

Therefore, he enjoined members to turn out enmass for the AGM and NEC election.

As at the time of going to press, ITRealms Online learnt that already, scheming has been going on in order to woe members of ATCON, especially the contenders in other portfolio, who are expected to fall in line within the two presidential aspirants of the association, which could be a boost for whoever would emerges as president eventually.

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2010: Nigerian youths drag IBB to Facebook

Last few weeks have been awash in Nigerian media with the verdict of former president Ibrahim Babangida on youth’s inability to take mantle of leadership. But they dragged IBB to social networking site, Facebook, with reactions, reports REMMY NWEKE.

FORMER military president of Nigeria, General Ibrahim Badamosi Babangida (IBB), was recently dragged to the most popular social networking website by some Nigerian youth who were simply not excited about his dream to aspire for the number one position again.

This is coming on the heels that the former military president and presidential aspirant on the platform of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), a fortnight ago reportedly declared his ambition to return to Aso Rock, due to what he perceived as lack of competent younger people to take over the mantle of leadership in the country.

The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO) described youth as persons between the ages of 15 and 24, while the United Nations (UN) in its agenda for the youth recognizes it as those persons between the ages of 15 and 24 years, without prejudice to other definitions by Member States.

This definition was made during preparations for the International Youth Year (1985), and endorsed by the General Assembly (see A/36/215 and resolution 36/28, 1981). All United Nations statistics on youth are based on this definition, as illustrated by the annual yearbooks of statistics published by the United Nations system on demography, education, employment and health.

In some other instances, youth has been described as those from 19 to 40 years, especially in the religious.

However, these media reports, were largely an extract from IBB’s interview with the Hausa Service of the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC). Babangida was quoted as saying that his desire to return to Aso Rock was spurred by the signs that Nigerian youth were not able to lead the country.

“… So, we feel we should help them. May be, they are not given the proper education that is why. I have spent 17 years since I left office. But a country like Nigeria cannot be ruled by people without experience. People like the Obama that you are speaking about have the experience. He started from the State House of Assembly to the House of Representatives and to the Senate. If our youth are like this, we will say they have the requisite experience. But we have not reached that level. Honestly, it is our wish that God will bring the younger people that will take over from us if they are available,” he said.

He also exonerated his eight-year stint at the Presidency from promoting corruption, describing the level of corruption in the country then as a far cry from what obtains today.

As one would expect, Nigerian youths and those youth at heart dragged him to their world of cyberspace, especially social networking sites with the prime being Facebook, which has more than 400 million active users.

ITRealms Online gathered that Facebook has estimated 50 per cent of active users log on in any given day within average user having 130 friends, while people spend over 500 billion minutes per month on Facebook.

Equally as the case attracted literally ‘venom’ from Nigerian youth, they went on to some online advocacy against IBB including Campaign Against IBB for President 2011, which main course is politics. On this group’s description for instance, it read: “Enough of Soldier go, Soldier come, It’s time for fresh and new ideas to emerge and lead Nigeria and Nigerians, so we can attain our rightful place in Africa and the world. Babangida is not the answer to our problems.”

The group pointed out that IBB wanted to turn “Nigeria and Nigerian citizens into party of what him and his people own. We must stop these old thieves from ruining our dear country. No to IBB 2011,” creator of the campaign declared in the profile.

Another concerned youthful Nigerian, while responding doubted if IBB actually looked closely at the demography of Nigerian voters lately before making that comment, recalling that even Babangida himself became president in his 40s as well as Buhari.
“… Gowon became President in his 30s, Murtala also in his 30s, Obasanjo became resident in his 30s, even Ojukwu became President of his own faction of the country in his 30s. So, when they come to the present and want to tell us that it is impossible for Nigerians in their 30s or 40 to govern this country, I begin to believe they’ve gotten so old that their brain cells have all died off and they don’t recall reality,” one of the respondents wrote on his Facebook wall.

According to this respondent, “IBB could be suffering from amnesia, and we must NOT allow him to take charge over our affairs again. For me, this is not about youth against old age-after all how old was Ronald Reagan when he won the US presidential election? But the likes of IBB have messed up Nigeria and want to continue to mess it up. No, they won’t! We won’t let them!” he insisted.

In his reaction, the presidential candidate of the African Democratic Congress (ADC) in the 2007 election, Prof. Pat Utomi urged Nigerian youth who are certain that IBB comments on BBC recently undermined their intelligence to speak out, mostly in the area of incapable of leadership and poorly educated.

“Nigerian youths must stand up to those who have no confidence in them,” he said, maintaining that “If we want a better Nigeria we need to create it. It will not just happen. We should not be tied to our past, we need to be tied to our potential.”

He attributed comments such as the one by IBB to Nigerians high tolerance for
ineptitude, stressing that was why all manner of failed and recycled former leaders feel the urge to talk down on the youth and insult them instead of campaigning for their votes.

He counseled Nigerians, whether from North or South, to think back on their past sufferings and “if you do not want more of ... the same, stand up and say enough is enough, because 2011 is the make or break year.”

For Mr. Increase Frank, “no matter how tall an okro tree may be, it would be bent by its owner when the time for harvest comes,’’ he declared, saying that for IBB, he knows that the youth are out not just for anything but the right thing. He thinks that by making such a statement the youth would be afraid.

“Oh no, you have failed. We’re out this time and out for the good of our country,” Frank reiterated.

And for Nosa Ihama, he pleaded with Nigerian youth to control their anger because he was sure IBB would be frustrated by his party and even if he succeeds, he would not win come 2011, alleging that Babangida contributed to the difficulties Nigerians and mostly the youths are presently facing as a nation in his youthful days as military dictator for eight years.

“He definitely cannot do anything to remedy the situation in his present age. The youths of Nigeria possess the ability to right the wrongs ... ‘Nigerian Youth, Yes We Can’” Ihama declared. This much was corroborated by Geli Okobi, another FB enthusiast.

While some described IBB’s comment as crazy, others urged him on, saying that if he is ready for the battle, he can give it a trial, after all, he knows that there would be no light at the end of the tunnel for him, because it is the nation’s money he stole while in office for eight years that he wants to use for his campaign.

“IBB is a joker. He won’t run. Let just eat the money he stole from us. He knows that if he comes and doesn’t win in 2011, he is finish,” said Joe Stanley.

Another youth, Deji Dero, promised that Nigerian youth would wage war against IBB come 2011, noting that his comment on BBC connotes that he does not have hope even in his own children, who are also youth of this country.

In her submission, Menye Ify noted there are 25 Laws of Democracy and Law 5 was particular about seeking information consistently.

Therefore, she quoted Lai Labode saying in 25 Laws of Democracy: “In the multiple-faced character of politics in any democracy, an uninformed choice is a moral crime to self and any side of an electoral divide. Information is the oxygen of a truly free choice.”

ITRealms Online recalls that the chief executive officer of Connect Technologies and President, Institute of Software Practitioners of Nigeria (ISPON), Chief Chris Uwaje in one of his inserts in the recently launched e-Knowledge: Time is Running Out, stated while discussing challenges in globalization and information society, that it demands higher levels of efficiency in governance, economy and commerce since there is now only one global standard in ICT, which played out in this IBB saga.

This gross implication, he said is that globalization could essentially be viewed as a ‘global technology revenue basket’ where inventor participate by earning credits or consumer nations by paying debts, noting that whichever way one is service knowledge.

This goes to justify the Lai Labode’s theory for a lot more Nigerian youth in the 25 Laws of Democracy No. 5, which is crucial for the political class to stop undermining Nigerians, especially the youths at this information age, because the soldiers of new media would not stop at anything than to make their votes count.

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SIM registration: Izuogu urges alignment to EU data Act

HANNOVER-based Nigerian legal practitioner, Mr. Chukwuyere Izuogu, has said that for the proposed Subscriber Identification Module (SIM) registration due to commence Saturday, May 1, in the country, there must be some level of data protection issues to be addressed.

He also called for retooling of Nigerian laws to align itself with the European Union (EU) principle, which has become widely accepted globally as far as data protection is concerned.

Izuogu said that top of these issues needing attention is how to manage the lack of appropriate legislative solutions with respect to the data to be gathered from the exercise.

Mr. Izuogu in a chat with ITRealms Online, said that industry regulator, the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) has a lot of work to do in order to make the registration successful.

“As national governments are becoming more aware of the importance of a good data protection framework, Nigeria must consciously strive to ensure that the personal data of the telecom subscribers are safeguarded,” he said.

This, he said, goes without saying that the common Nigerian person values his privacy and should not be exposed to situations where such a personal data is unlawfully processed or accessed.

The reality on ground, he pointed out, is the lack of the appropriate legislative solutions, which must be put in place to address data protection issues which are gradually manifesting in an Information and Communication Technology (ICT) savvy Nigerian society.

“We need to re-engineer our laws to accommodate the challenges presented by data protection, in the absence of the appropriate law, it becomes safe to place reliance on the principles enshrined under European Union (EU) model for data protection, which still remains a role model for implementing data protection laws worldwide,” he said.

Explaining the importance of data protection, Izuogu reiterated that the right to privacy has been in-alienable, thus, it could never be derogated from.

Further, he said, the directive by NCC was borne out of the need to have a credible database of SIM card holders in Nigeria that would be used to identify, for instance, criminals for possible prosecution who perpetrate criminal activities through the use of mobile phones by exploiting the anonymity of unregistered SIM Card.

Identifying data protection and privacy issues in the implementation of this SIM card registration process as key to its would-be success, Izuogu noted the right to privacy is an inalienable human right that cannot be derogated from, neither could it be subsumed under any government law or policy.

He emphasized though that Nigeria presently has no legislative framework for data protection, but noted that the right to privacy could be traced to the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria of 1999, in particular Section 37, which provides “the privacy of citizens, their homes, correspondence, telephone conversations and telegraphic communications is hereby guaranteed and protected.”

According to him, the broad import of this particular statutory provision is to guarantee from interference and intrusion, the private affairs of the Nigerian person.

When this constitutional right is juxtaposed with NCC’s directive to register SIM cards, one is compelled to ask the nature of privacy and or data protection issues involved in the registration of these SIM cards.

Describing SIM cards as a tool used to identify subscribers to mobile telecommunications services. It is a removable card that allows the user to transfer its subscribed services to another mobile device.

As there is a dearth of data protection laws in Nigeria, I intend to propose as a reference model the principles contained in the EU wide Data Protection Directive 95/46 EC, as a guide for the implementation of this SIM card registration process.

Amongst other things, this directive has been internationally touted as a proper reference model for data protection, the standards set are widely regarded as “high” and places an emphasis on human rights while its principles have been flexible in their approach.

He said, in pursuant to this directive, data or personal data means any information relating to an identifiable natural person, which also goes further in defining an identifiable natural person as one who could be identified, directly or indirectly, in particular by reference to an identification number.

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PBCL partners take ATM solution to InfoSecurity fair

PRICEWORTH Business Connections Ltd (PBCL) has concluded plans to take its solution alongside partners to the 2010 InfoSecurity scheduled to hold in the United Kingdom (UK) come June this year.

PBCL president, Mr. Peter Ejiofor, made this disclosure in Lagos, saying that key solution would focus on Automated Teller Machine (ATM) skimming and fraud prevention.

He noted that ATM skimming has emerged as one of bank’s fastest-growing electronic crimes and is a much more profitable crime to commit, not only because of the amount of money they are able to steal very quickly, but because it is less likely that they will be detected.

The time, he said, has come for financial institutions to battle it so as to survive change in policy and can ill afford any further loss of consumer confidence.

“With over 25,000 bank consortium managing ATMs in operation round the country, banking and security leaders are challenged by savvy cyber criminals with an inventory of readily available skimming technology in executing their ATM fraud action plans upon institutions of all sizes,” he said.

Noting that without an understanding of the crime, the skimming process and proactive protective strategies, virtually any institution, any customer could be the next victim.

He disclosed that during the InfoSecurity UK 2010 which comes up from June 3 through 5, at Arora Hotel Heathrow, London, England, visitors will get to learn insights from a United States (U.S.) Infosecurity experts, former bank cum security leader and security solutions providers, to explain how skimming works.

Detailed examination of the crime, the rapidly-changing skimming technology used on ATMs, and the criminal process of ATM skimmers as documented by those who should know will be showcased at the fair.

Prevention strategies, according to him, include security and data lost prevention strategies to alter skimming’s impact on identity theft losses. Learn more about rising direct and indirect costs, notification procedures, loss-cost analysis and prevention-mitigation tactics.

“You will also test emerging technologies that are now a part of effective ATM security practices; understand the four-step layered security approach that can help banking operations detect and deter ATM skimming crime and fraud losses,” he said.

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Legends of Tech honours Obi, Obaro, 2 Ghanaians

THE Executive Governor of Anambra State, Mr. Peter Obi, recently led awardees at the West Africa ICT Development Award (WAICTDA) where he bagged the ICT Governor of the Year.

WAICTDA is organised by Legend of Technology, a project of Technology Africa.
Just as the Managing Director of SystemSpecs Limited, Mr. John Obaro, the President, Accra Institute of Technology, Prof. Clement Dzidonu, President, Accra Institute of Technology received the award for ICT Personality of the year – Male; while the ICT personality of the year - Female went to Dr. Dorothy Gordon (Ghana).

They were honoured at the annual event, which took place in Lagos, and according to the citation read by the organisers, Anambra State today under Gov. Obi’s leadership is at the forefront of promoting ICT in schools and providing enabling environment for growth of ICT.

“In addition it is providing ICT training for civil servants and students in the state. Through strategic partnership the state has also become the first to produce 100 Microsoft Academies, the first to begin the process of allocation of the one-laptop-per-child initiative and is indeed the first administration to give one-laptop to every civil servant as against what obtains in other states where civil servants cannot have access to computer after working hours,” part of the citation read.

Gov Obi, was also said to have demonstrated uncommon courage to pursue the path of ICT growth, adoption and use for the citizens of Anambra State, thus contributing to bridging the digital divide in the country.

Reacting to the award after receiving it on behalf of Gov. Obi, his commissioner for Economic, Planning and Budget, Prof Chinyere Stella Okunna, commended the organizers for the quality of the ceremony noting that the award would spur Obi’s administration to higher heights as it seeks to make Anambra State a leading light in ICT utilisation.

This year’s event, presided over by annual West African ICT Development Awards and gala is designed to celebrate Hi-Tech most important movers and shakers; individuals, organisations and institutions that are at the fore front of pushing the frontiers of technology deployment and adoption in Nigeria.

TD emerged ICT Company of the year; Computer Company of the year went to OMATEK; Best e-Government support company of the year -New Horizons and the Training Institution of the year-NIIT.

Others include Mobile Operator company of the year-Globacom; ISP of the year – DOPC, e-Payment company of the year-Interswitch; Software company of the year-ExpertEdge; ICT Driven University of the year-Covenant University among others.

Special awards for Legends of Technology was conferred on Chris Uwaje, John Obaro, and Dr. Emmanuel Ekuwem. The ICT Revelation of the year went to a nine-year old Ms Favour Nwaiwu as the world’s youngest Microsoft Certified Professional.

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TD wins top APC awards in Mauritius

TOP Information and Communication Technology (ICT) distributor, Technology Distributions, has emerged winner of two awards at the just concluded APC Partners conference in Mauritius.

These awards include the APC Highest Revenue Award for West Africa and the APC Highest Revenue Award for the sub-Saharan Africa and were jointly presented by Carl Kenyans – the Vice President, English Africa, APC by Schneider Electric and Paolo Miglietta, Vice President, South Africa.

The citation for the awards stated that the honour was in recognition of TD’s impressive distribution channels across the West African region and her turnover contributions from Sub Saharan Africa.

The citation took note of TD’s innovativeness in the face of the harsh market conditions created by the global recession.

Receiving the award the Executive Director, Marketing, Mrs. Chioma Chimere thanked APC by Schneider Electric for recognizing and rewarding the professional marketing activities of Technology Distributions in Africa.

She also announced that TD dedicates both APC Awards to her resellers in Ghana for their significant contributions to the 2009 sales figures in spite of the global recession.

Mrs. Chimere further said that APC partners from all over Africa keenly contested the different award categories, stressing that she was fulfilled because such periodic endorsements from global partners attest to the single-minded focus of the TD management and staff on the vision of the founding fathers of the company.

She recalled that TD pioneered IT revolution in West Africa by launching West Africa and indeed Africa into the league of IT nations through making available ICT tools.

Equally, Mrs. Chimere said that this feat was achieved through a mix of superior customer service, pricing leadership, operational and logistic efficiency and innovativeness.

In a related development Technology Distributions has also won the Award of the ICT Company of the year, 2009, at the recently concluded West African ICT Awards. TD was also nominated for the ICT Distributor of the Year at the Beacon Awards and ICT Company of the Year at the Titan s of Tech Awards.

These nominations and Awards affirm TD’s rising profile as Africa’s biggest ICT distribution company and a major marketing force for leading global brands including HP, Zinox, Microsoft, APC, Epson, Acer, Dell, and Toshiba. TD’s impressive performance in 2009 is consistent with its exploits in previous years. From 2004 – 2009, year after year, TD beat all other distributors in Africa to win HP’s Top Performer Awards in Growth and Revenue categories.

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SIM registration: NCC insists on May take off, revisits price cap

The acting Executive Vice Chairman (EVC), Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), Mr. Stephen Bello has said that the Commission would revisit price cap regime in the telecom sector, while maintaining that registration of SIM cards would commence on May 1, 2010, as planned.

Speaking in Abuja, Bello said price cap regime which existed at the inception of mobile phone services is one of the issues that the Commission would tackle soon to ensure that operators within a bar relative to interconnect rates.

“In 2001 when GSM started, we said that nobody should charge above N50 per minute and that was many years ago. Now, we have the fact that the number of lines has increased, there is economy of scale and you know that as you have advantages of economy of scale the unit price comes down,” he declared, stressing that NCC believes that the competition in the industry would control prices, just as the situation may arise in which people sometimes cooperate and try to maximize their profit.

“Therefore, we in NCC have developed a policy we refer to as price cap regulation where we give a price and the competition can make you to operate within this degree of freedom, but not beyond it,” he said.

Equally, Bello said there are many methods of regulating prices in the industry but the current government policy is that the Commission would not be engaged in direct price control as existed in the 70s when government publishes the price of commodities which no seller would go above.

He pointed out that NCC recently reviewed the interconnect rates, which is the rate at which operators pay when they transfer calls amongst themselves, but these are yet to trickle down to the subscribers.

“So, we have resolved that we will need to revisit the price cap to ensure that these advantages trickle down, and we will begin the process with consultation with the operators and collection of some data to implement it,” he asserted.

On the commencement of registration of SIM cards on Saturday, May 1, Bello noted that some operators have expressed reservations with the dateline, but said that experience has shown that operators always resist anything that would cost them extra money.

“Even when they believe in it and they believe that it’s necessary because they are always looking at the bottom line, they want to maximize their profit. The same thing happened with per second billing. We have been on this thing and we have given enough time to get ready, all the issues have been discussed, we have had many meetings so the issue of publicity we are addressing it immediately so we are maintaining our stand that SIM card registration will start on the 1st of May unfailingly,” he said.

The acting EVC emphasized that his office has given a transition window during which some of the issues would be addressed.

“With that, we believe that that cushion of three months during which we have the transition period is enough for everybody to take care of some of the delays,” he said, noting that NCC still maintain the fact that SIM card registration would start May 1.

He explained that there would be a transition period and the details of that would come out later on

Bello also reiterated that the Commission under him will not waiver in all the ongoing projects inherited from his predecessor, Dr. Ernest Ndukwe, such as number portability, SIM card registration, emergency communication projects and many others.

“I have been involved so it is a matter of just continuing the process. There is nothing that is on the line that we are doing that I have not been fully involved in, so I am familiar with all the antecedents and all the issues and how to take it to a logical conclusion. So, definitely I will just flow along and make sure that all these things are put in place and completed”, he said.

On the first interactive session with the Minister of State for Information and Communications, Mr. Labaran Maku, and industry stakeholders, he said that the stakeholders spoke their minds and that the Minister has given insight into what some of his policies and operational modes would be.

“I think based on the interaction, the industry is set to move fast, that the gains made in the past will definitely be improved upon, and we will go ahead and we believe there will be no gap,” he submitted.

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Suburban alleges fraud on WIN project, writes Akunyili

•NCC says not aware

ANOTHER set of controversy looms in the telecommunications industry as one of the nation’s Long Distance Operator (LDO), Suburban West Africa Limited, has formally requested the Minister of Information and Communications, Prof. (Mrs), Dora Akunyili to investigate the processes leading to the selection of beneficiaries in the subsidized Wire Nigeria (WiN) project by the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC).

This project is to be funded through the Universal Service Provision Fund (USPF) and the subsidy was meant to support Long Distance Operators in deploying services nationwide especially in intercity backbone facilitation.

Apparently, the supposed defendant, NCC, was not copied, which gave credence to why the Commission’s spokesman, Mr. Reuben Muoka, said they were not aware of any such petition.

Some of the purported beneficiaries include Phase3 Telecom and Multi-Links, just as Phase3 said it was not aware of any petition, but insisted that its emergence in the process was through the necessary process for selection.

“I can however tell you that we went through the necessary process for selection,” Phase3 Telecom chief executive, Mr. Stanley Jegede told ITRealms Online when contacted on the issue via telephone.

But, according to the petition by Suburban signed by its group chief executive officer, Mr. Bruce Ayenote, a copy of which was sighted by ITRealms Online,
Akunyili’s copy was received on April 16, at the Radio House, Abuja and the Minister of State in the ministry, Mr. Labaran Maku was copied, but none to NCC.

Suburban alleged in the letter titled ‘Protest of Lack of Transparency in the process for award of Wire Nigeria (WIN) subsidy by NCC’ that it’s disturbed that after pre-qualification it never got any correspondence from NCC, coupled that Phase3Telecom got the sudsidy without pre-qualification.

They urged Akunyili to use her offices to compel NCC to uphold its much publicized tenet of ‘transparency’ by adhering to the original process which prequalified three (3) bidders of which Suburban Telecom was one.

Although, Suburban’s petition was faulted by industry experts who said that considering the currency, the company should have known that NCC reports to the Minister of State, which in this case is Maku and not directly to Akunyili, therefore, Ayenote’s led Suburban should have know based on the Nigerian Communications Act of 2003, otherwise it is political.

They, however, warned of any looming controversy that could destabilize the current presidency under Jonathan Goodluck, even as they asked why waiting until this moment to raise any doubt on the process supposedly completed over a long time.

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Words of 100 Icons of ICT for launch

AN x-ray of contributions of key players in nation’s Information and Communications Technology (ICT) will be launched in July, this year, under the tag, Words of 100 Icons of ICT.

Revealing this, Editor, Communication Week Media Limited, publishers of the book, Mr. Ken Nwogbo, said, weekend, that the main point of the special publication is that human capital is the key to wealth and reported growth of Nigeria’s only growing sector.

He also said that Words of 100 Icons of ICT will recognize the significant and lasting contributions of the key actors to the growth of the ICT industry in Nigeria.

According to him, ICT sector as an economic focal point owes this in large measure to its relatively faster human capital formation.

“It is publication that documents in permanent form contributions of individuals who have explored the potential of technology to improve lives” he added.

Words of 100 Icons of ICT is a celebration of players who have developed strong expertise and capabilities in areas of legal and regulatory policy, technical knowledge, distance learning, and sector applications in such fields as information and communications technology, banking, e-payment, education, health, democracy and environment.

This compendium will also feature rare editorials which have helped policies and buying decisions in the sector. It promises to be guiding document for future policy and buying decisions.

Supports have been sought from the Federal Ministry of Information and Communications, Ministry of Science and Technology, Nigeria Communications Commission (NCC), Association of Telecommunications Companies of Nigeria (ATCON), Association of Licensed Telecommunications Companies of Nigeria (ALTON) and Nigeria Internet Group (NIG).

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Monday, April 26, 2010

Trust, key to health organisation – Covey

Internationally acclaimed motivational speaker and author of The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, Dr. Stephen Covey, has said that trust is fundamental to healthy growth of organizations, mostly those who want to entrench ethical culture and leadership.

Dr. Covey, who spoke at a gathering sponsored by Zain Nigeria to formally unveil Enterprise Solution, the new business package of the telecom company, said at a press conference in Lagos, that other imperatives include clarifying purpose so that everyone from top to the bottom understands what the purpose and strategic goal is aligned to all systems, structures and processes to accomplish those purposes and unleash the power to what is called a complementing game.

He also said that the four imperatives of leadership must be institutionalized inside an organisation so that it becomes a culture and ensures that everyone is committed to the strategic goals, and stressed the importance of living by principles.

“When we do not live by principles, we do not develop trust. When trust develops, speed goes up and cost goes down. If you have people who are deceitful, flaky, and dishonest or crooked in their behaviour, what happens is that costs go up, speed goes down. So, everything is affected by the essence of trust. Trust is foundational,” he declared.

Additionally, he commended Zain Nigeria for the new product offering, saying that he was excited to be part of the introduction of the new value proposition that would enable Zain achieve its strategic goals as well as enable customers to see the tremendous value that comes from this kind of product.

Speaking earlier, Chief Commercial Officer, Zain Nigeria, Mr. Shamel Hanafi, said that Zain invited Dr. Covey to visit the country in order to share some rare insights into winning secrets of effective business people, because Zain Enterprise Solutions aim to help customers perform at optimal efficiency while boosting their effectiveness as team players and executives.

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MTN launches World Cup Naira splash competition

MTN Nigeria has launched a Short Messaging competition tagged World Cup Naira Splash with anticipation to expend estimated N283,200,000 (N283.2m) in the next three months, even as it warned that no winner would be contacted via SMS or asked to send top-up value cards to redeem prizes.

Chief Marketing and Strategy Officer, MTN Nigeria, Mr. Bola Akingbade announced this through the General Manager, Business Intelligence, Mr. Abba Gana, noted that MTN as the official sponsor of the 2010 FIFA World Cup to be hosted in South Africa, has been working round the clock to make certain everything goes well.

According to him, it is in this bid that MTN Nigeria decided to introduce its latest contest for subscribers in form of the MTN World Cup Naira Splash competition.

The competition which commenced a fortnight ago without formal launch, he said, would end on July 13, this year.

“The Competition would not only provide the platform for us to enrich the lives of our customers, it would also afford several winners the opportunity of watching the FIFA World Cup live in South Africa, courtesy MTN,” he said.

Akingbade said that the competition has been categories into four, namely Daily Prizes, Hourly Prizes, Monthly Prizes and the World Cup Surprises.

He explained that for hourly prizes, N20,000 would be awarded at determined hourly intervals during the competition.

“This, would be awarded to a total of 2,160 customers,” he said.

Equally, he said, that the Daily Prizes entails that N2 million would be awarded to winners to be drawn everyday for the period of the competition, stressing that “In all 90 customers would benefit in this category.”

On the monthly prizes, Akingbade said that the sum of N20 million has been mapped out to be awarded to each monthly prize winner for the three months that the competition has been planned to last.

In addition, the World Cup Surprises, he said that 120 MTN subscribers would be chosen and sponsored by MTN to watch the 2010 FIFA World Cup matches.

“The sponsorship package would include flights, accommodation, match tickets and local transportation,” he said, adding that this category, he said, would run beginning last week till May 31, 2010.

Responding to questions, he said that the dates of the trip would be determined by MTN emphasizing that winners would definitely be informed before the trip.

To qualify for the trip, he said that winners would be required to possess a valid Nigerian passport, yellow fever vaccination certificate and travel visas which they would have to present to MTN or its appointed travel agency before June 4, this year.

“While every participant is eligible to win as many hourly prizes as he can, participants can only win one daily prize, one monthly prize and only one world cup surprise which is the trip to watch the world cup live in South Africa,” he clarified.

Further, he said, that the competition is an SMS-based interactive game comprised of a personalized storyboard and SMS dialogue.

He stressed that to take part, participants would voluntarily opt to play by sending ‘Go’ via SMS to the dedicated short code ‘2010’ at a cost of N100 per SMS.

He enjoined customers on the network to play as many times as possible so as to continue to accumulate points as a customer who wins previously still has ample chances of winning the hourly prizes severally.

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certgate takes mobile security solution to London Fair’10

The Nuremberg-based mobile security specialist certgate would tomorrow, launch its world’s first complete security solution for smartphones at the Infosecurity Europe 2010 fair in London, which last between April 27 and 29, this year.

Chief operating officer (COO) certgate, Axel Stett, said the new solution based on the firm’s Smartphone protector, secures three dimensions: mobile device access, data in motion and voice communication.Certgate presents the first security solution ever for mobile phones that provides complete protection for mobile communication on the basis of hardware-secured certificates.

Reliably defending all potential points of attack on a smartphone, Stett said, it shields against spyware and malware, protects user data from loss and manipulation, stops unauthorised access to data communication, and even secures voice communication from any form of interception.“A few people caught only a glimpse of the solution at the CeBIT 2010 in Hanover, and now at Infosecurity 2010 in London we will be letting you get up close and test the solution for yourself”, Stett explained.

For him, they are presenting a showcase that would clearly demonstrate the technical implementation to visitors and provide hands-on proof of the solution’s voice quality.

The technology of hardware-based device protection and data encryption, he said, is at the core of a top-security project named ‘SiMKo2’, developed by certgate’s integrator partner T-Systems International, to provide secure mobile communication to the German Federal Government, public administration and selected enterprises.

This solution - nicknamed ‘Merkelphone’ - would now be enhanced by certgate with a ciphony module running on Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP).certgate’s security solution enables public authorities and enterprises to use their mobile devices safely for confidential information, making them fully compliant with defined administrative or corporate safety policies. It resists all spyware and malware attacks on mobile phones as well as ‘man-in-the-middle’ attacks. In the event of loss or theft, the certgate Smartphone Protector eliminates the danger of data being circulated or misused: the phone is absolutely inaccessible and its memory remains undecryptable, even under laboratory conditions.

Similarly, it is impossible to activate any form of eavesdropping or microphone-tapping software that might be bought from the internet for as little as $100, about N15,000.The certgate solution, he noted, is in fact cost-effective, as it runs on off-the-shelf smartphones. “Enterprises can benefit from the growth potential and cost-savings of mobile business models without having to buy ‘crypto phones’ that come with a heavy price tag,” he said.

Additionally, he said, Smartphones can be integrated into an organisation’s security infrastructure in a rapid and cost-efficient manner, enabling totally risk-free mobile communication between head office executives, for instance, and the sales force out on the road. Administrative overheads are low because software installation and personalisation of the certgate SmartCard microSD is a one-off effort per smartphone.

The certgate Smartphone Protector is based on unique kernel protection and guarantees unrivalled security levels for mobile devices. Top security encryption algorithms and ultra-modern communication technology securely protect information against espionage and misuse. certgate’s voice encryption application, which is fully integrated in the smartphone’s normal GUI and directory of contacts, makes use of and is interoperable with SIP and RTP protocols. It works well in PKI environments and runs on a broad variety of Windows Mobile-based smartphones, with further platforms on the way according to certgate.

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Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Lagos State IT project benefits workforce – Hamzat

The Lagos State Government has said that its Statewide Information Technology programme, known as the Global Computerization Project (GCP) of the current administration was initiated to benefit the workforce.

Commissioner for Science and Technology, Dr. Kadiri Obafemi Hamzat made this disclosure at the weekend, at a one day roundtable on Internet Governance Forum (IGF) preparation for the country organized by the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) and Digital Sense Africa (DSA) in Lagos.

Dr. Hamzat who was represented by the Director, Computer Services in the Lagos State Ministry of Science and Technology, Mr. Jide Adenuga in a keynote to the occasion, noted that at inception of the last administration of Lagos State, it was confronted with enormous challenges of effectively managing the business of government particularly in the area of operational activities, revenue generation and electronic information dissemination between offices in its domains.

Consequently, Dr. Hamzat said, the present administration led by Gov. Babatunde Fashola on assumption of office fashioned out a policy thrust aimed at implementing a Statewide Information Technology programme for the transformation of the business of government in Lagos State from manual to electronic-based government.

This, he said, was introduced under the Global Computerization Project and envisaged to bring enormous benefits to government and people of Lagos State in areas of governance, management of natural, financial and material resources and the State workforce.

“On our part as a government we devised a means of maintaining closer contact with the people, by launching a state of the art website, which serves as the e-government portal at www.lagosstate.gov.ng,” he declared.

As said by him, the website features dynamic web pages with enormous bandwidth spread Statewide.

“It covers the whole gamut of government information online and provides opportunity to receive direct feedback from the citizens,” he said, stressing that the website also creates room for interaction and transaction online.

The over-riding objective of creating the website, he told participants at the forum with theme ‘Five Years of IGF: Way Forward for Nigeria’, was to provide greater access to government information and promote civic engagement; hence service oriented and provides information about government activities in addition to links to some government agencies such as tax information and payment.

“In line with the expanding nature of the socio-economic activities of the State, we are determined to continuously add value and expand the contents of the website in order to compare with the best around the world.

He pointed out that following the commencement of global Internet Governance Forum in 2006, which widely received commendation as an innovative experiment in global governance, thus bringing together stakeholders from government, the private sector and non-governmental organisations to jointly address public policy issues.

While commending the forum, presided over by the president, Internet Service Providers Association of Nigeria (ISPAN), Chief Samuel Adeleke, Commissioner Kadiri advised the organizers to liaise with the Nigeria Internet Group (NIG) in development of strategy to curtail cyber crimes to a barest minimum so as to reduce the projection of the nation negatively.

The former chairperson, Presidential Inter-Ministerial Committee on World Summit on Information Society (WSIS) and Permanent Secretary, Ecological Fund, Mrs. Ibukun Odusote presented progress report of the committee at the forum, while Managing Director of Nigeria Internet Exchange Point Limited, Mr. Muhammed Rudman, delivered paper on Internet Protocol version Six (IPv6) among others.

The former Communications Minister and current chairman, Board of Trustees, Nigeria Internet Group (NIG), Chief Olawale Ige led the delegate from NCC and represented the acting chief executive of the commission at the forum.

Welcoming participants earlier, Executive Director, Operations, DSA, Mrs. Nkemdilim Nweke, said the forum was meant to rally opinion for the nation’s internet community in preparation for the global IGF coming up in September at Lithuania.

Digital Sense Africa is an initiative of Remnek Kommunications Ventures; a group of ICT analysts and public relations consultants, with continental media affiliates as part of its enlightenment strategies to engage Nigerians for sustainable deployment and utilization of technologies in order to make sense out of the burgeoning revolution.

This year’s forum was organized in collaboration with NCC and endorsed by the Nigeria Internet Registration Association (NIRA), Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN), Nigeria Internet Exchange Point Ltd, Association of Telecom Companies of Nigeria (ATCON), Association of Licensed Telecom Operators of Nigeria (ALTON), Nigeria Computer Society (NCS), to name a few.

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Open source software as business solution

Open Source Software has increasingly become a necessity for growing small businesses and government that wants to leverage on technology, especially for developing nations on the continent, reports REMMY NWEKE.

“Using open source software as the basis of your development can cut your development time and budget by 50 per cent,” Accenture Australia.

Once upon a time, a business entity presumably based on Open Source took over the Nigeria’s software scene, with cars and office outlets deliberately adorned with Linux logo and colour. For most local industry observers, it was a novel and classical entrance into the scene that has been known and described as ‘non-performing’ and ‘non-profitable’.

Soon after the campaign went down and from no time, the branded vehicles began to disappear one after another from Nigerian roads across the commercial nerve centre of the nation, Lagos. But one thing remained intact, the knowledge and awareness such a campaign has drawn to Open Source Software (OSS).

For Nigerians, open source means various things to diverse individuals and organizations. A school of thought would not like to hear anything about open source software and yet for another, open source is where the future lies.

And for the software engineers at a California-based Open Source Initiative (OSI) founded 12 years ago, www.opensource.org, the term ‘Open Source’ does not mean mere access to source codes, but must comply with some core 10 distribution terms for OSS, including free redistribution, source code, derived works, integrity of the author’s source code, no discrimination against persons or groups, no discrimination against fields of endeavour, distribution of license, non-limitation to specific product, restriction of other software and technology-neutrality.

According to OSS advocates, the term ‘free redistribution’ entails that no restriction on any party “from selling or giving away the software as a component of an aggregate software distribution containing programmes from several different sources. The license shall not require a royalty or other fee for such sale.”

On the ‘Source Code,’ experts said that the programme must take account of the source code which allows distribution in source code as well as compiled form, even where some form of products are not distributed with source code, there must be a well-publicized means of obtaining the source code for no more than a reasonable reproduction cost preferably, downloading via the Internet without charge.

Thus, this must be the preferred form in which a programmer could modify the programme. In other words, deliberately obfuscated source code is not allowed, just as intermediate forms such as the output of a preprocessor or translator are not allowed.

For the ‘derived works’ they outlined that licenses must allow modifications and to be distributed under the same terms as the license of the original software. While the ‘Integrity of the author’s Source Code’ affords Free and Open Source Software (FOSS) application to have explicit permit to distribute software built from modified source code, which could require derivation works to carry a different name or version number from the original software, therefore, guaranteeing that source be readily available, and ensuring ‘unofficial’ changes to be made which could readily be distinguished from the base source.

Equally, FOSS experts described ‘No discrimination against persons or groups’ as theory with rationale that in order to get the maximum benefit from the process, the maximum diversity of persons and groups should be equally eligible to contribute to open sources. Therefore, it’s forbidden for any OSS licensee to lock anyone out of the process. This also applies to ‘No discrimination against fields of endeavour’ clause, which insists that licensee must not restrict anyone from making use of the programme in a specific field of endeavor. For example, it may not restrict the programme from being used in a business, or from being used for genetic research.

And for ‘distribution of license’ developers are not required to attach a programme codes that could make its redistribution a difficult option. As outlined by FOSS advocates, license must not be specific to a product, which entails that the rights attached to the programme must not depend on the programme’s being part of a particular software distribution. So, if the programme is extracted from that distribution and used or distributed within the above terms of the programme’s license, all parties to whom the programme is redistributed should have the same rights as those that are granted in conjunction with the original software distribution, thus, foreclosing yet another class of license traps.

In furtherance to maintaining its freedom stand, FOSS licenses must not restrict other software, either distributed alone or alongside other applications as well as insistence that any being distributed at the same time must have a given trade mark or open-source software. They maintained that distributors of open-source software have the right to make their own choices about their own software.

Finally, the ‘License must be technology-neutral’ as no provision of the license may predicate on any individual technology or style of interface, which aims at specific licenses requiring an explicit gesture of assent in order to establish a contract between licensor and licensee, such as provisions mandating so-called ‘click-wrap’ may conflict with important methods of software distribution such as File Transfer Protocol (FTP) download, Compact Disc Read-Only-Memory (CD-ROM) anthologies, and web mirroring; as well such provisions may also hinder code re-use. Therefore, conformant licensees must allow for the possibility that a redistribution of the software could take place over non-web channels which may not support click-wrapping of the download, and covered code or re-used portions of covered code, thereby running as a non-Graphical User Interface (GUI) environment that cannot support popup dialogues.

Presently there are several Open Source applications platform including Linux, IBM and Novell to name a few. Though the likes of Microsoft known for proprietary applications are turning some of their offerings into what some experts described as partial open-source, just to reduce the implication of argument that it is strictly tight-fisted and 100 per cent profit inclined. So, it was heartwarming that Linux distributor, Mandriva West Africa, recently opened office in Nigeria in an effort to expand its global market share with headquarters in Lagos.

Chief executive, Mandriva West Africa, Mr. Dele Ajisomo, while disclosing this, said his company’s goal in West Africa is to provide local distribution of Mandriva Linux and other integrated open source applications in English and French throughout the region. He pointed out that his firm is expected to work with regional Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEMs) to bundle Mandriva Linux with their hardware as well as work with independent software vendors to establish an open source integration environment for locally developed software.

Ajisomo also said that his office would work with educational organisations in the region to make computers more accessible to learners, just as plans are up to establish a certified business partner programme in the region and authorised Mandriva education centres that would provide Linux Professional Institute (LPI) training.

“The OEM versions of all Mandriva products are currently available and running on hardware from major international OEM vendors like HP, IBM/Lenovo, Dell and Acer. Mandriva West Africa plans to work with local OEMs in bundling these products on their hardware,” he said.

Affirming this, President, Information Technology (Industry) Association of Nigeria (ITAN), Dr. Jimson Olufuye, disclosed at 22nd national conference cum 30th Anniversary of Nigeria Computer Society (NCS), that ITAN, a hardware interest group of NCS partnered Mandriva West Africa for Mandriva Linux (ML) an Open Source Operating and application software on all the Personal Computers (PCs), laptops, notebooks and thumbdrives for its Old Students’ Computer In School Initiative (OS-CISI) now branded “OSPC” that is, Old Students’ Personal Computer.

Olufuye pointed out that OSPCs are computer gadgets provided by old students in the government across the three tiers, private sector and for primary, secondary and post secondary schools nationwide.

“1 million OSPCs powered by ML and its suites of educational software are projected to be deployed to primary, secondary and post secondary schools in Nigeria by the year 2015,” he said.

Above all, it is essential that proponents gain access to national and international markets through using the open source marketing methodology; the open source testing and debugging have brought great reduction in product development costs, and using open source software marketing and distribution channels could greatly increase the possibilities that products developed under this platform get the widest market, and tends to level the playing field with the larger, better-financed competitors, bearing in mind that Open Source licenses are not anti-commercial, but anti lock-in.

This aspect of Open Source has been described as excellent for users who could use it at will, thus, very good for marketing objectives.

Speaking with ITRealms Online in Lagos recently, Chief executive officer of Mauritius-based Footprint Africa Business Solutions (FABS), Mrs. Karien Bornheim identified complicity in the Nigeria’s public sector deployment of Information and Communication Technology (ICT), especially with respect to software application, hence creating confusion on what and how to deploy a given service that could lift the administration of governance through technology.

“They don’t know what exactly they really want. Also, the leadership change very often and it is difficult to make decision that could spur growth and enable the catering for clients better,” she declared. As said by her, FABS utilizes the platforms of world class software providers such as IBM, Novell and RedHat among others to deliver quality services to its customers in virtually all parts of the globe, pointing out that in most cases, especially at this era of meltdown recovery intensity, organisations do not really have to buy new software.

“We have our own expertise in our bid to deliver and we would not give any customer a product that is not certified,” she declared, stressing that most companies may not necessarily buy a new software application, but still prefer to deploy open source suites.

“In Open Source, the license is free, but the support service is not,” she explained, emphasising that Linux environment is the way to go. She cited an instance with East African countries where open source applications have become almost official software backed with a government decree, saying that is what is needed in other parts of Africa for open source to get to the next level of assisting developing countries to advance.

In furtherance of business viabilities for open source, the Free Software and Open Source Foundation for Africa (FOSSFA), recently linked up with the European hub of open source cum ICT hub located in Berlin, Germany, backed with intercontinental working tour.

Team leader of FOSSFA working tour and council chairperson, Ms. Nnenna Nwakanma, said it was the longest out-of-the continent working trip to Berlin, Europe’s Open Source hub. She also said, the Foundation’s executives and staff from the Western, Eastern and Southern Africa toured Berlin and its environs for one full week.

Noting that Berlin as centre of innovation brings science and Small and Medium Enterprise (SMEs) together for innovation on the Open Source Business Foundation platform with members cutting across companies, institutions and persons inspired by open source software.

Nwakanma also said the highpoint was a visit to Linux Tag, European’s oldest Linux Tradefair, which normally registers above 12,000 attendees. Other organizations and events scheduled included Open Berlin, The Open Source Business School, LiSOG, newthinking, Linux Association, LXDE, and Linux Verband. Parallel to these, she said, is FOSSFA and Inwent Capacity Building International event dedicated to ICT@INNOVATION.

“The joint project serves the need of Open Source SMEs in Africa, even as the team joined the Linux Professionals Institute (LPI) in celebrating their 10th anniversary.

Like the president of Institute of Software Practitioners of Nigeria (ISPON), Chief Chris Uwaje noted, FOSS is where the future lies for development and emancipation of local content in a developing economy like Nigeria into the global realm.

For Uwaje, who spoke at the weekend during the Nigeria IT Expo (NITEX) organized by the NCS at the University of Lagos (UNILAG), said all nations of the world now look up to Open Source Software (OSS), as the roadmap to sustainable progress and creation of wealth. Therefore, he declared that development of OSS application and software products should be strongly encouraged and promoted to accomplish many objectives for the Nigeria software industry.

For the chief executive, Jidaw.com, Mr. Jide Awe, in view of the considerable interest OSS has generated globally, it will be a mistake for a developing country like Nigeria to fail to examine the worth and benefits of OSS.

However, noteworthy is that lack of awareness and relative availability of expertise among FOSS members could be a major hindrance for support services, but top on the logs has been the absence of adequate funding both by the government and few multinational proponents of FOSS in developing countries and Nigeria, of course, cannnot exist in isolation.

So, a clarion call is hereby made to those who have advancement of developing countries at heart to embrace open source as a way out of the wood, especially given its ability to drastically reduce cost of deployment and management, mostly where the expertise is available for support services.

Therefore, the introductory quote above could apply to businesses and government entities in the not-too-developed nations, most of which, could be easily found in Africa and with Nigeria’s size and population, the chances are in legion, in that what Accenture saw and witnessed in Australia could be replicated by Nigerian firms.

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ITAN adopts e-voting for 2011

The Information Technology Association of Nigeria (ITAN), has backed the adoption of Electronic Voting Machines (EVM) in the 2011 general election in the country, reports CHARLES OKOH.

ITAN through its Chief Operating Officer, Mr. Oluwole Owolabi, said the term ‘electronic voting machines’ refers to Direct Recording Electronic (DRE) voting machines and not optical-scan machines.

Although optical-scan machines use an electronic reader to tabulate the vote totals, voters mark their selections on a paper ballot and are not directly recording their votes into the machine.

Owolabi explained that EVMs make the voting process more efficient.

“DREs are secure, able to unambiguously capture the intent of a voter, capable of preventing residual votes, reliable, easy to use, and accessible to disabled, illiterate, and non-English speaking voters,” he said.

Also, he said, every form of paper ballot that has ever been devised could and has been manipulated with considerable ease, stressing that the reason is that humans are familiar with paper and its characteristics.

“By contrast, altering redundant encrypted write-once computer records is impossible even for experts. So, assuming that the electronic voting records are written correctly in the first place, the possibility of modifying them later is remote,” he said.

Owolabi, who heads the African secretariat of World Information Technology (WITSA), Abuja, expressed the belief that computers offer the first technology that could easily make copies of information in different forms for archival preservation.

Further, he said EVMs of today keep records of the votes on disk, removable physical media in memories and, as a final count, on a paper scroll and that these multiple records can improve voting machines’ immunity to problems.

He identified the advantages of DRE systems to include eliminating the possibility of making more selections than permissible; advising the voter of when a voter makes fewer than the maximum number of permissible selections in a contest thereby eliminating marking devices which can result in questions of voter intent as well as providing a review screen before a voter casts a ballot.

And to ensure that EVMs improve the voting process, Owolabi reiterated that the process must be defined, confined and examined by Information and Communication Technology (ICT) experts and professional in the following areas, vulnerability to hacking, disabled voters and electronic voting machines, voter verified paper audit trails, accuracy in capturing voters’ intent, political ties of manufacturers, secure storage of votes, malicious software programming, physical security of machines, susceptibility to fraud and federal legislation.

Additionally, he called for a pilot for the implementation and measurement of a EMVs benefits realization model to be developed to specify benefits at the strategic or objective level, validate the benefits during investment analysis for programme and project funding, check the delivery of early benefits once the programmes and projects are defined and have begun execution to validate the long term goals and benefits and measure product or service performance once they are deployed to validate early results and assure the strategic goals are met.

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Uwaje advocates for national software directory

President, Institute of Software Practitioners of Nigeria (ISPON) Mr. Chris Uwaje, has advocated for the establishment of National Software Directory on all software in use in the country, reports CHARLES OKOH.

Uwaje said that this would cover both the foreign and local, currently in circulation in the country, in order to make it mandatory for all software domiciled in Nigeria to be registered with Nigeria Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA).

Speaking at the Nigeria Computer Society (NCS) organized National Information Technology Expo (NITEX-10), he said that except a national policy on software is precisely developed, Nigeria would remain a dumping ground leading to continued capital flight from the country.

He said every software-exporting country has evolved a unique industry, shaped by its own resources and situation and by the particular global opportunities presented at the time, insisting that no software in the world is perfect and that except the nation develops her own master plan no other nation would do it for her.

Uwaje, who also called for graduated ban on software applications that could be sourced locally by government agencies and parastatals, noted that it would allow for growth of the local industry.

He equally said the country should target an average of 5,000 software graduates annually to prepare her for the new information age.

Uwaje who dwelt on the Imperatives for a national software policy, last week said that a national master plan for software development, for instance would show the roadmap to leapfrog and avoid the nation from being a 21st century digital colony.

He also charged the government to advise and use moral persuasion to make private sector look inwards and possibly grant incentives to them for procuring and using indigenous application software.

Uwaje who is also the Managing Director of Connect Technologies Limited, added that imported software applications in private and public sectors, under the scheme, should in three years be subjected to high taxation if they are procured with foreign exchange.

According to him, the masterplan would afford the engagement and preparation of the nation for the challenges, risks and opportunities of the emerging knowledge society.

“To act as a vehicle for accelerated capacity building and creation of wealth through software development as well as ensure that Nigeria does not become a 21st century digital colony,” he said.

Today, Uwaje said, the global software industry has continued to evolve dramatically and countries who now aspire to develop their software exports face different and critical globally challenging situations.

“They are therefore, likely to evolve fundamentally different software industries. The current shape and dynamics of the software industry should inform ICT planning and policy, no matter the country’s stage of economic development,” he said.

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ICTWatch plans digital awards, lecture

Leading Nigerian television programme on MITV and TVC, ICTWatch Network has announced its Africa Digital Award and lecturer series to be held in June.

Coordinator of the programme, Mr. Tayo Adewusi, said that the essence is to stimulate rapid development of Information & Communications Technology (ICT) on the continent.

“We are set to assemble Africa’s Digital ‘who is who’ in Nigeria come June 2010. Highlight of the pan-African digital icons’ gathering is the Africa Digital Awards & Lecture Series 2010. (ADA 2010),” he declared.

He explained that the lecture will focus on the pace of Africa’s digital growth in the past decade, the award is designed to recognise and honour Africa’s ICT experts companies and individuals who have excelled in their efforts towards accelerating the development of the ICT sector across the African continent, as well as in other parts of the world.

Additionally, he said, the event is also aimed at acknowledging the very high performance of the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) in terms of effective and efficient regulation of the ICT sector in Nigeria, most particularly in the past ten years.

Indeed, as the change of leadership in the NCC takes effect, ICT Watch believes that it would be highly imperative for a stakeholders’ forum to set an agenda for the incoming helmsman of the Commission to help him manage, sustain and may be exceed the successes achieved by Engr. Dr. Ernest Chukwuka Ndukwe.

Tagged “Africa Digital Awards & Lecture Series 2010”, the pan-African digital excellence event aims at x-raying the achievements made in the Nigerian ICT sector in particular and the ripple effects such achievements has impacted on Africa’s digital growth in the last ten years. The forum will also examine the way forward for the incoming board of NCC and challenge the West African Telecommunications Regulatory Association (WATRA), which Nigeria is a leading member, to make every efforts to bridge the digital divide in Africa.

With the broad theme, “Nigeria’s Golden Jubilee: Sustaining the Growth in the Telecom Sector Beyond 2010” the forum is designed to focus on maximizing the potentials of Nigeria telecoms growth and sustaining it through putting in place leadership, policies and programmes that will move the industry to the next level.

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MTN rolls out HyConnect @ Abia, Kano

•Showcases at Internet forum

Leading telecommunications company, MTN Nigeria, last weekend showcased its mobile data offering to the second edition of the Nigeria Digital Sense Forum, which held in Lagos.

This is coming as the telecom operator announced the launch of its Internet and fixed line service MTN HyConnect in Aba and Kano, Abia and Kano States respectively.

Officials of MTN at the event said that with the MTN 3.5G mobile broadband service gaining momentum in the Nigerian market, it was imperative to showcase the products at DSA forum, pointing out that its internet products include the data access for the Nigerian travelling public and the 3.5G mobile broadband.

MTN 3.5G mobile broadband service, according to one of the marketing officers who requested for anonymity, opens up a whole new dimension of fast and simple working and harnesses the advantages of mobility, taking internet access in Nigeria to new level. The launch has ushered the two cities into a new era of cost effective and seamless communication. High speed Internet and fixed lines running on fibre optic technology will now be available to subscribers in their homes and offices in the cities.

Speaking on the roll-out of MTN HyConnect in two cities of Aba and Kano, the Chief Enterprise Solutions Officer, Mr. Derek Appiah, said the product of MTN Business is a comprehensive range of solutions, focused on assisting businesses to realize their full potential by availing them of an array of productivity-enhancing communications solutions.

“We are happy to announce that MTN HyConnect is live in Aba and Kano. This is consistent with our plan to systematically extend the benefits of MTN HyConnect services to more parts of Nigeria,” Appiah said.

MTN HyConnect was launched with fanfare in Ibadan, the capital of Oyo State in August 2009. It has since spread to Port Harcourt, Calabar and the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja, in addition to its launch pad, Lagos.

Everywhere that MTN HyConnect has launched, Appiah said, small and medium scale enterprises (SMEs) have particularly embraced it, as it enables them to improve productivity through its reliability and speed.

According to Appiah, MTN HyConnect Internet footprint would be extended to other major cities in the country before the end of the year.

In his comment, the Corporate Services Executive, Mr. Wale Goodluck said, MTN is committed to adding value to the lives and businesses of people.

“And this we are doing in very many ways, including delivering tailor-made, productivity-enhancing solutions to every part of this vast country. We will continue to do our best to stimulate economic growth and development in our great country,” he said.

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Covey to unveil Zain’s Enterprise Solutions

Renowned motivational speaker and author of ‘The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People’, Dr Stephen Covey has been slated to unveil Zain’s Enterprise solutions.

Chief Commercial Officer, Zain Nigeria, Mr. Shamel Hanafi, disclosed this, said that during Covey’s three-day visit scheduled to begin on April 20 through 23, 2010, that Zain would use the opportunity to unveil its Enterprise Solutions in the country.

Zain Enterprise Solutions, he said, is a suite of products and services with a unique value proposition designed to significantly enhance the effectiveness, efficiency and productivity of businesses, business executives and entrepreneurs.

The celebrated motivational speaker and management expert would also share his time-tested tips on principles and values of leadership and tips on how individual and businesses can move from failure to success and improve efficiency, productivity and profitability.

During his visit, he said, Zain would provide over five hundred leaders in business, government and the media an opportunity to listen to and interact with Dr. Covey.

Hanafi noted that Dr. Covey and Zain Enterprise Solutions have a lot in common hence the decision of the company to associate the unveiling of the solutions with the foremost author.

He also said that bringing Dr. Covey into the country underscores its understanding of the need to improve on the efficiency and effectiveness of business managers and leaders generally especially in the light of the challenging global economic environment.

Hanafi emphasized that Zain would always look for opportunities to give its customers a pleasurable communication experience as well as equip and empower them to succeed in the various aspects of their lives in keeping with its brand promise of ‘A wonderful world’.

The itinerary of the visit released by the company show that Dr Covey would host a collection of young business executives, professionals and select media managers today at a cocktail event tagged “An Evening with Dr Covey” at the Auto Lounge, Victoria Island, Lagos, during which he will sign (autograph) books for the first 100 guests.

He would also have an interactive session with the media as well as visit some radio stations in Lagos and speak to listeners on air and expound on key management principles.

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Indian presides over ITU council

Global telecom regulator, the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) has appointed an Indian expert, Mr. R.N. Jha as its chairman for the 2010 Council

The Council comprises of 46 Member states, last week held its annual session, six months before the ITU Plenipotentiary Conference, which would take place in Guadalajara, Mexico, 4-22 October 2010.

A press statement from the governing body signed by the Chief, Media Relations and Public Information, Mr. Sanjay Acharya, the council would take the opportunity to review the implementation of the union’s strategic and financial plans for the 2008-2011 period as well as the draft plans for 2012-2015.

At the first plenary meeting where India took over the rotating chairmanship from Ghana, Mr. Jha who is also the Deputy Director-General, Department of Telecommunications, Government of India, said in his opening address as Chairman,
“This session of Council is particularly important as this is the year of the ITU Plenipotentiary Conference. Many issues being discussed here will find their way to the Mexico conference.”

Mr. Jha added that as ITU celebrates its 145th anniversary this year, the importance of the Union is increasing as newer technologies, applications and services are introduced that contribute to economic growth worldwide.

In his State of the Union address, ITU Secretary-General Dr. Hamadoun Touré noted some recent landmark achievements, such as new ITU standards for the development of 3D TV and a universal charger solution for mobile phones as well as its timely interventions in restoring communications in the aftermath of the devastating earthquakes in Haiti and Chile earlier this year.

Recognizing the need for broader support to strengthen ITU’s role, Dr TourĂ© said, “As a market-responsive organization in a fast-changing environment, we need to work constantly to continue to increase our relevance,” he said.

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Monday, April 19, 2010

Tizhe tasks media on IT promotion

The president of the Computer Professional Registration Council of Nigeria (CPN), Mr. Ibrahim Tizhe, has tasked Nigerian media to project Information Technology (IT) as it is the only universally accepted agent of development.

This is coming as he warned Nigerians to know the difference between product certification and professional certification, saying that product certification is not equitable to professional certification.

Speaking in Lagos last weekend, at a quarterly media conference, Tizhe noted that this has always been the fact, but the media in developing countries give prominence to politics, insisting that IT is the bedrock of development,

“IT is the only agent of development, although we have been projecting politics, but the fact is that IT is the root of development,” he said.

He recognized that Nigerian media has been trying over the last decade, especially with the evolution to crept into the economy to promote IT extensively but more needed to be done in terms of ranking of stories that make news in the country.

He also disclosed that CPN membership has grown to over 4,000 since the body was established through Act 49 of 1993.

According to him, the Act was passed into law since June 10 and gazette on August of the same year, thus CPN was charged with the regulation, control and supervision of the computing industry.

Mr. Tizhe also said that product certification involves such certifications as being offered by product manufacturers like Cisco Systems, Microsoft Corporation and Oracle Corporation among others.

He described these as product-based certification and cannot be equated with professional certifications such as the ones offered by CPN.

“These are not substitutes for CPN certifications, but are product specific, thus, they deal precisely on their products,” he declared.

Tizhe explained that CPN qualification gives individuals a broad spectrum of knowledge instead of caging oneself within a given product, which is a limited option.

Also contributing on the chief executive of HiiT, Chief Kayode Shobajo, who doubles as the chairman, Public Relations and Corporate Affairs committee, maintained that vendor certification must be seen as such and has not equivalence in professional certification like the one being offered by CPN.

As said by him, this could only be made clearer with media education and enlightenment of the populace and for those who want to ply their trade in the IT industry.

He hinted that CPN has advanced plans for a congregation of IT professionals for its annual general assembly, which is expected to draw attendance from both local and international members of CPN and allied organizations.

Mr. Tizhe was accompanied at the session by his vice president, Alhaja Sekinat Yusuf, Registrar of CPN, Mr. Sikiru Shehu and Director of Finance and Administration, Mr. Sunday Eke.

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Odusote applauds DSA on Internet awareness

THE Permanent Secretary, Nigeria Ecological Fund, Mrs. Ibukun Odusote, has commended Digital Sense Africa (DSA), organizers of the annual Nigeria Digital Sense Forum, for its initiative in sustaining the programme as a prelude to the global Internet Governance Forum (IGF). She noted that DSA as a private initiative has succeeded where government agencies failed.

Mrs. Odusote, who was speaking over the weekend in Lagos at the one-day Nigeria Digital Sense Forum, advocated that access to internet should be declared the right of every Nigerian.

“The nation needs a forum like this to enable her articulate her position at the global IGF. With attendance as this it shows the power the private sector has over the public sector in using the internet to network,” she said.

She also said though several attempts in the past to hold similar fora were not successful but that the public sector is beginning to wake up, just as she called for massive enlightenment on the potentials of the internet.

Mrs. Odusote who spoke on: Nigeria in WSIS; Five years of IGF, pointed out that for the nation to benefit more from the current internet access the service has to be improved upon.

Equally speaking, the President Nigeria Internet Group (NIG) Mr. Lanre Ajayi, lamented that the gap between the developing and developed nations in internet access is increasing by the day, citing that in the United States (US) and South Korea, broadband penetration has grown to 53 and 90 per cent respectively.

“The global average broadband penetration is 30 per cent. But in Nigeria we have one per cent of broadband penetration out of the estimated seven per cent of internet access, but what is this compared to the US, South Korea and global broadband penetration? So, we need to work hard to get access to our people,” he said.

Calling for urgent legislation to fight cyber crimes, he warned that unless something is done to check the menace of cyber crime in the country when access increases it means that the criminals would also increase.

The chairman of the 2010 forum and president, Internet Service Providers Association (ISPAN), Chief Samuel Adeleke said DSA has provided the nation the platform to articulate her position at the next IGF, lamenting that the average Nigerian is still illiterate when it comes to internet usage.

“We are not internet hungry. There is need for active participation both as a nation and as individuals to change the perception from the negative use of the internet to the positive,” he said.

In her welcome address, the Executive Director (Operations), DSA, Mrs. Nkemdilim Nweke said the forum acts as a rallying point for the nation’s internet stakeholders in raising and addressing salient issues concerning Information and Communications Technology (ICT) sector and in particular, internet governance related issues.

Mrs. Nweke also commended the recent court ruling on the vexed issues arising from the sale of 2.3 GHz spectrum, describing it as a victory for democracy and the rule of law.

“This ruling is a victory for democracy and a way forward for the growth of the telecom sector in particular and the economy in general as the future lies on the internet,” she said.

Tagged “Five years of Internet Government Forum: The way forward for Nigeria”, the forum would prepare the nation for the IGF scheduled to hold in Vilnius, Lithuania between September 14 and 17, 2010, the organizers said.

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Zinox showcase e-knowledge suite @ NITEX’10

Internationally certified Nigeria’s premier computer brand, Zinox Technologies last week showcased the three-day Nigeria Information Technology Expo (NITEX) 2010, which lasted for three days at the University of Lagos, Multipurpose hall, Akoka-Lagos.

NITEX is organized by the Nigeria organized by the Nigeria Computer Society (NCS), in partnership with the National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA), Small and Medium Enterprises Development Agency of Nigeria (SMEDAN), Standards Organization of Nigeria (SON) and Center for Information Technology Studies (CITS).
The conference and exhibition which commenced last Wednesday ended Friday, April 16, this year.

According to the Assistant General Manager (AGM) Marketing at Zinox Computers, Mrs. Loretta Agbakoba said that the computer firm would maintain a strong presence with some of her product lines that are custom made for the educational sector namely the Zinox e-books suite, the Zinox NComputing package and the Zinox net book series.

She affirmed that Zinox e-books suite is top of the products at the exhibition, stressing that Zinox e-books suite worth N62,000 is free for one year and a free Zinox digi lamp to enhance reading in a country where blackouts have become a norm.

Agbakoba noted that the e-books suite, which Zinox developed in partnership with World e library is currently number 1 on the continent and contains 750,000 e-books downloadable in any personal computer (PC).

This is in addition to 59,000 medical e-documents and e-books, 11,000 classic literature e-books, 1,000 Chemistry e-books, 500 Mathematics e-books; 250 Physics e-books; and 680,000 e-books more.

She also said that the suite includes Physics simulation tools, Creative, Observation, and Skills Development Tools, Teacher Lessons Plans, Worksheets, and Classroom Articles.

Agbakoba pointed out that the e-learning suite holds a lot of promise for educational institutions who want to be rated among the world’s best and governments who wish to accelerate the pace towards the achievement of the Millennium Development Goals and the Vision 202020 said Mrs. Loretta Agbakoba.

She further said that another unique solution that Zinox is demonstrating at the exhibition is the Zinox NComputing, which unwraps the unused capacity so that it could be simultaneously shared by multiple students.

“Each student’s monitor, keyboard, and mouse connect to the shared PC through a small and very durable NComputing access device,” she said, adding that educationists would find the NComputers rugged, durable, easy to deploy, and maintain because the device itself has no Central Processing Unit (CPU), memory or moving parts like a PC.

Mrs. Agbakoba said that IT professionals in the educational sector are always complaining about budget cuts, not enough PCs, outdated PCs, limited IT support staff, crowded and hot computer labs, growing student populations, and the desire to move e-learning into the classroom.

The Zinox A.G.M. said that NComputing offers solutions to these concerns because now it is possible to make huge savings on hardware, maintenance and power consumption.

The NComputing ultra low-cost desktops are so affordable that you can install twice as many workstations with your existing budget. She revealed that millions of students in more than 10,000 schools are already enjoying the benefits of NComputing’s virtual desktops.

The Zinox Smart series come in two portable variants – the Smart plus – running on Intel Atom processor, 10.1 display screen, Microsoft operating system, a SIM card slot and has a variety of three colors (red, black, pink); and the Zinox Smart – also running on Intel Atom processor, 8.9 display screen, Microsoft operating system, and has a blue color to depict ruggedness. Mrs. Agbakoba urged the Unilag community to take advantage of the NITEX exhibition and address their IT problems.

Zinox Computers was launched in 2001 as Nigeria’s First Internationally Certified Branded Computers. Presently rated by the International Data Corporation (IDC), USA as the No. 2 selling brand amongst international brands in Nigeria, Zinox is the only brand that has reduced the total cost of ownership of computers in Nigeria through her nationwide support network.

By virtue of its place of birth, history, ownership pedigree, investments, profitability, and a clear roadmap, Zinox is the largest IT Company in sub Saharan African and is determined to be the single largest integrated ICT Company in Africa by the year 2012.

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Wednesday, April 14, 2010

OLD DATA MODEM: Why Starcomms is trading-in

Some facts have emerged at the weekend, on why one of the Code Division Multiple Access (CDMA) operators in the country, Starcomms Plc announced a trade-in of its old data modems in exchange for new ones.

ITRealms Online recalled that Starcomms, last week proclaimed that for data subscribers on its network desirous of seamless and fast internet browsing with a sleek top-of-the-range modem, the company is now offering an exchange service in which they could trade in any old internet modems for new ones on network.

ITRealms Online also gathered with this plan, Starcomms would be receiving old modems of any kind bought previously and replace them with Starcomms iZAP modem for half its current price. Investigations by ITRealms Online revealed that surge of anticipated competition may have driven the latest move by the CDMA operator to ask for trade in.

This, industry observers said could be in anticipation that broadband market expected to unwrap from middle of this year could be depleted, hence the operator wanted to cling on to its subscriber-base on data.

ITRealms Online recalls that last quarter of 2009 saw the much publicized landing of Glo 1 and by June, Main One Cable is billed to touch ground on Nigerian soil.

Both cables, experts said would escalate provision of broadband internet to the populace and in fact crash prices.

Obviously in expectation that this could be a boom any time soon, Starcomms wanted to reclaim its market, especially for those who may have fallen off its customer base because of one reason or the other, mostly on quality of service and customer relation.

It was not unforeseen to see Starcomms coming through the trade in door to reharness its data subscribers knowing fully well that once Glo and Main One announce prices, those operators without directly own cables will witness a cut on data subscriber-base

Hence, Starcomms rolled out the drums last week to announce the trade in of its data modem.

According to Tushar Maheshwari, Starcomms Chief Commercial Officer, Internet subscribers in the country who may have been using their lower grade or old models of modems could upgrade now to Starcomms iZAP, which he described as an enhanced version of Rev. A EvDo internet Universal Serial Bus (USB) modems, at an affordable rate. The offer, Maheshwari described as incredible offer was made so that Nigerians could experience the best of Starcomms iZAP.

“It’s revolutionizing broadband internet connectivity in Nigeria. Data subscribers now have the opportunity to move up to the upgraded version of 3G Rev. a broadband internet facility,” he said, stressing that Starcomms has stocked state-of-the-art devices to meet the yearnings of people in the area of internet access. The modem trade-in offer, Maheshwari said, is not limited to any particular device.

“Subscribers can exchange PCIMCIA cards, USB modems or Express cards for the sleek New Starcomms iZAP USB Rev.A modems from world class manufacturers,” he said.

Pointing out that these modems could be used with any computer and are in plug-and-play mode without any need for complicated installation. He explained that by upgrading to Starcomms award winning internet services brand iZAP, subscribers would be able to enjoy high speed internet experience as high as 3.1 mega bits per second (mbps) in an ideal condition and flexibility in access plan as well as in payment options.

Starcomms chief executive officer, Mr. Maher Qubain, was also quoted as saying that they consider data services very important and were aware of the yearnings of people to get the most effective data service available.

“Starcomms prides itself in the culture of bringing world class innovative products and services to its subscribers at affordable prices as a continuing business strategy,” he said, maintaining that it has been the operator’s plan to make the best of broadband internet access available to everybody on the network.

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